This month, the ACR Journal interviewed Mirell Reissner, Market Sector Expert Reefer Container and Railway for Bitzer for the Women in ACR column.
Education: Where did you study and what diploma/ degree did you gain?
I started my education as a refrigeration service technician at a company called Combitherm in Germany. After one year of working experience in this job, I went back to college to get my HVACR technician degree.
Tell us about your current employer and where you work
I have been working for Bitzer since 1 January 2016, at the company’s headquarters in Sindelfingen, Germany. The Bitzer Group is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of refrigeration compressors. This long-standing company was founded in 1934 and is today represented at 44 locations around the world. Bitzer produces and distributes reciprocating, screw and scroll compressors as well as pressure vessels and condensing units. Approximately 3,400 employees work at Bitzer and in 2015 its turnover was about 686 million euros.
What attracted you to the industry?
I’ve always loved technically challenging jobs. It was my father who introduced me to the refrigeration industry – he works in refrigeration, too. What fascinates me about HVACR is the big picture: Not only do you learn a lot about thermodynamics, you have to have a solid understanding of other technical branches as well. Electrics, for example. How are they connected to each other? This is the real challenge for me and also the reason why my job never gets boring. There’s always a new assignment waiting round the corner and further exciting projects to get immersed in.
What do you specialise in now? Or what type of projects do you work on?
I support Bitzer subsidiaries worldwide in technical questions about transport cooling and look after our OEM customers. I also assist in the rollout of new products like the new SPEEDLITE scroll compressor. An important aspect of the job is to keep customers and our subsidiaries updated about changes they need to be aware of. All of this requires interfacing with different departments, such as manufacturing and dispatch, and organising and communicating with many people across the company and beyond.
What excites or interests you about the industry and your part in it now?
On the one hand, I’m fascinated by how refrigeration and air conditioning can develop and shape technology trends. On the other hand, I like to see the daily routine of my work: It is basically everywhere. I see foods in the supermarket and know that a compressor worked hard to keep these goods cool and fresh on the way. I see it in the train or bus, where people can enjoy pleasant temperatures. It’s still exciting for me to experience the direct influence my work has in the everyday life of all of us.
What would you say to other women who are considering coming into the ACR industry?
HVACR is indeed an industry dominated by men. But in my opinion, this shouldn’t play a significant role when choosing your career path. If someone asked me, I would say: Go for it, if you like a challenge. It’s important not to lose the chance of succeeding in an area that interests you, especially as a woman. Of course, technical understanding plays a crucial role, but this applies for both men and women. It’s all a matter of interest and learning ability, not of gender.
Where do you see your career developing?
At Bitzer, I started as Customer Support Engineer. I got new responsibilities after nine months in this job and extended my role as Market Sector Expert. I’ve worked as a Service Sales Engineer before, so I am pretty much specialised in service issues already. I want to take on more responsibility and grow and develop. Especially regarding customer projects, where I can give personal on-site support.
What are the challenges of this industry?
From the technical point of view, it’s crucial to give the customers the best possible guidance. Compressors are technically complex products which require special knowledge in their handling. The customer has to understand the compressor he’s using in order to avoid mistakes which may affect the service life of the compressor. This is where I come in and also one of the strengths of my department: It’s important to train the customers well and to accompany their project from start to finish.
What are the benefits of being in your role?
I enjoy helping customers make a success of projects, so that they can in turn deliver for their own customers. It is satisfying and another big plus to take the protection of our environment into account by finding solutions for efficient refrigeration systems – especially in the transport sector, where you have to take specific challenges and issues into consideration.
What industry competitions or events have you participated in?
I support my team and company at trade fairs like the InnoTrans in Berlin, and of course Chillventa. I am very fortunate to work for a company which offers extensive training possibilities, so there’s always the chance to learn something new and to meet experienced industry insiders.